Clear up mysterious PIN hunt

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Students are being pushed to see academic advisers to be allowed to register.

The Alamo Colleges is encouraging students to see their academic advisers by interfering with their ability to register. They are being lured with mythological personal identification numbers, or PINs.

The district began the advising PIN pilot program last spring, and although only having tested the system on a mere 900 students, expanded the questionable practice to all students with credit hours between 15 and 30 and more than 45.

Don’t worry just yet though, students. You’ll get your PIN number, eventually. Advisers say they know students will be getting PINs, but they can’t say when.

Students should make sure to see an adviser anyway because a PIN could be gracing email by the start of registration Nov. 14.

Need administrators be reminded that registration is a deadline-driven project, and preventing students from registering is neither proactive nor reactive?

Students shouldn’t bother trying to set that appointment via the Gradesfirst hotlink in their adviser’s email — it doesn’t work.

Aside from the utter disorganization and lack of communication between administration and academic advisers — the people administrators credit as students’ lifeline to an efficient and transferable degree — this system is clearly designed after a lose-win scenario. (Students lose, administration wins.)

Students are treated like sheep led to the field to select a degree and let loose without a realistic plan for success. This is exactly what emphasizing the importance of academic advisers over faculty advisers does.

Students looking for more than a degree — perhaps a successful future — might find a faculty adviser more helpful in determining a realistic pathway, where every touchstone may not overlap with their peers’.

PINs are administration’s method of ensuring students follow the set pathways leading right to the front door. Or the back door alley if they don’t want to get a degree.

Considering the mess that administration has made with registration by implementing the PIN system, the only real solution is to communicate more actively and efficiently with advisers.

Administrators need to increase the information technology infrastructure to make sure they can follow through with their initiative if they want to force students to see their academic advisers.

Administration should also understand that the unreasonable 500-1 adviser-to-student ratio has worked only because advisers were once an optional resource.

More academic advisers are now an urgent necessity for registration and enrollment.


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